Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

President Trump's 'Team' to Review TPP Agreement

President Trump's 'Team' to Review TPP Agreement

Mr Trump has mused about re-joining TPP negotiations in the past, but his request to his top aides shows a greater level of interest in re-joining the pact he railed against during his 2016 campaign. The eleven nations with whom we were set to partner have gone ahead with a deal - one that differs somewhat from the original one. And Jacinda Arden, the prime minister of New Zealand, said that "it's not just a matter of slotting into an existing deal" and the US rejoining would "trigger another process of engagement and negotiation".

The TPP is the free trade pact with primarily Asia-Pacific nations that Mr Trump backed out of a year ago. "Will they be able to negotiate those back in?" Taro Aso, Japan's finance minister and deputy prime minister said that "if the news is true, we would welcome it". Trump is temperamental so "there may be a different statement the next day", he told reporters in Tokyo.

Rejoining the 11-country pact could be a sharp reversal of fortune for many US industries that stood to benefit from the trade agreement's favorable terms and Republican lawmakers who supported the pact.

The S&P 500 Index closed up 0.8 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added nearly 300 points, or 1.2 percent, as investors assessed the changing trade dynamics. One of his first official moves in office was a formal withdrawal from the deal penned under Obama.

The pact, which was conceived as a counterweight to Beijing's rising economic power in the region, had been negotiated under the administration of former US president Barack Obama, but never approved by US Congress. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who has been a sometimes-Trump critic, applauded the president's willingness to reconsider his order to remove America from the trade alliance.

The barriers to a new pact are considerable.

Trump had withdrawn from the agreement during his first week in office, citing threats to American workers. But trade experts say there is reason to believe the president could see new value in reviving American participation in the Pacific Rim trade deal.

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"But then you'd have to get Japan to agree to it", Elms said, predicting that the 11 current members would not be "wildly enthusiastic" about the idea of bilateral negotiations with the Trump administration.

TPP, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, includes nations such as Canada, Mexico, Peru, Japan, Singapore and Australia.

New Zealand's liberal government, voted into power past year, has been more cautious about the deal than the previous conservative government.

While Trump himself was silent on Syria on Friday, giving no further clues on whether American military action is imminent, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Washington estimated that Assad's forces had used chemical weapons at least 50 times during the seven-year-old Syrian conflict.

"They're re-evaluating what they're going to do", he said.

Xi pledged a "new phase of opening up" Tuesday in a keynote address to the Boao Forum for Asia. The TPP was finalized in February 2016, but not ratified by the USA before Trump withdrew the United States' signature from the pact.

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